How we made it to the December cover of Philippine Tatler | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

On the first day of this Christmas month, the editor of Philippine Tatler magazine and my dear friend Anton San Diego delivered my copy of the mag’s December issue. I have been eagerly awaiting the Christmas issue ever since Anton told me a couple of weeks ago that my family had been chosen for the cover.

Between our hectic schedules, my husband Dennis and I found time for the Tatler pictorial, handled with consummate expertise by ace photographer Tom Epperson at the Rustan’s Department Store. My three kids had to be bribed to pose since they are not as paparazzi-friendly as their outrageous mother. Unfortunately, my eldest son Bryan is in Singapore and so could not join our family photo.

Fresh from the gala show of L.A.-based designer Oliver Tolentino, my beautiful, fuchsia-embellished gown was complemented by the pretty, cream gown of our elder daughter, Annika, made for her by talented young designer Sassa Jimenez for the Red Charity Gala.

Our youngest, sweet Athena, wore a dainty, ruffled dress from Rustan’s. Of course, the boys just wore their own stuff. As Dennis says, no one ever minds what the boys wear. Boys just have to make sure they don’t step on the girls’ gowns.

Family traditions

Tatler December features various families sharing their Christmas traditions and beautiful, holiday table settings. My favorite designer duo, Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre, prepare a European-styled spread in their stylish home.

New lifestyle shop owner Andy Vazquez Prada also showcases a wonderful table setting. Together with Kaye Tinga, Andy recently opened W/17, a stunning shop selling beautiful, handcrafted furniture and home accessories. Check out the home store for special Christmas gifts at Warehouse 17B, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.

It may be serendipity, but I remember gracing the cover of Tatler in December 2002. Tatler recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, so I guess I have been part of the Tatler family since its inception. I still remember that pictorial, with the late designer Joe Salazar outfitting me as a living Christmas tree while lensman Wig Tysmans did the photography.

Anton and Tatler managing director Irene Martel Francisco have truly established the magazine as the leading chronicler of luxury lifestyles in the country. Everything about the publication spells class and excellence. Beautiful pictorials and interesting features grace every issue. And it has bountiful ads to boot!

Exclusive affair

This 10th anniversary was extra special for the Tatler team. Their much-anticipated ball at the Shangri-La Makati Hotel was, as always, a by-invitation-only affair, and thus, a most precious commodity for the social set.

After champagne cocktails at the Shang’s mezzanine, guests proceeded to the elegant ballroom, filled with beautiful arrangements of exotic flowers and 300 especially made votive candles in Tatler’s signature scent. Of course, I missed the whole cocktail as I was still at Emphasis Salon. Fave makeup artist Victor Ortega applied his magic on my face and award-winning stylist Danny Katalbas worked on my sky-high hairdo.

As always, designer Rajo Laurel and I had a creative challenge for my ball gown. We always think of unusual materials to incorporate into the gown, and every year, Rajo gets more and more ingenious.

We’ve tried silk leaves, recycled plastic and industrial foam before. This year, we used an acetate laminate cut into feather and scale shapes and then painted and molded onto a strapless bodice. The pièce de résistance was the addition of LED lighting, which shows how fashion uses sewers, beaders and electricians to push the envelope.

Completing my evening look was the new Jimmy Choo Fragrance, launched last month at Rustan’s Makati. The famous shoemaker has now a scent to be loved by all.

The Shangri-La team, led by GM Reto Klauser, once again delivered a sumptuous menu that had a touch of Spain as the unifying theme. Dishes, such as soufflé de Manchego with aged Iberico ham and a succulent roasted lomo de cordero, were all complemented with fine wines from Chile.

Substantial donation

Tatler’s celebration was highlighted with a substantial donation to build 60 houses for the ball’s beneficiary, Habitat for Humanity Philippines. This is why I love auctions. Habitat for Humanity got a generous donation that evening as Tim Yap and I raised the bids for all the fabulous items.

Dashing and debonair Hayden Kho was an active bidder, with generous Emerson Yao donating the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Deep Sea Automatic watch he won for P1 million. And that’s just for one of the auction items!

Emerson is always active in charity. His Lucerne Watch Group has a special Christmas tree at the Dusit Thani Hotel lobby this year. Please “like” their tree on Facebook so they can spread good cheer this season.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Philippine Tatler awards given to exemplary members of society. The awardees included Wash Sycip, Icon of Industry; Josie Natori, Pinnacle Award; Chuchu Madrigal, Charitable Force; Hindy Weber-Tantoco, Most Stylish Lady; Kenneth Cobonpue, Creative Force; and Jun and Lisa Bayot, Distinguished Couple.

Dennis and I were at the table of Smart Infinity. We were dazzled to be sitting beside stars Anne Curtis and Ruffa Gutierrez, wearing Rajo Laurel and Furne One, respectively. Major partners for the magnificent Tatler Ball were Century Properties, Mercedes Benz, Smart Infinity and Visa.

Follow Tessa on Twitter @tessavaldes or e-mail her at [email protected]